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21/08/13: Interview - Akamuti's Lindsey!

You might have heard of this company, a lovely lot called Akamuti.  I've only mentioned them, well, quite a few times!  A little bit in love with their website and quite a lot in love with the butters and oils they have on offer.  So, really happy to be able to share with you this interview with the creator and founder, Lindsey.

Even before I bought their products, Lindsey was happy to converse via email to help me decide what products might work for my skin - and when someone takes the time to do that, I can't help but be impressed.  I really enjoyed getting to know more about the brand and a bit more about Lindsey herself.  I hope that you do too!  

Hi Lindsey!  Akamuti is such an interesting name for a brand, how did you come up with it?  (And, importantly, am I saying it right - ak-a-moot-ee?) 
Yes, that’s right! I wanted to pick a name that reflected our connection to Africa and our passion for plants and healing. A lot of our ingredients come from Africa and my mum was born there too. Akamuti is an African word (Bemba language) from Zambia. It has two meanings, ‘Little tree’ or ‘A little bit of medicine’, where tree and medicine are synonymous. In African cultures, trees are revered as sources of healing. We really feel this evokes our philosophy and ideals. We’re very passionate about healing, trees and herbs so it describes us perfectly! 

Excellent, glad to hear I've been pronouncing it correctly!  I read that you started the brand over ten years ago, what inspired you to begin creating skincare? 
Running my own business is something that I’ve always wanted to do, since I was a teenager. Akamuti was born when I was 19. I loved the idea of making my own way by making products that I loved and believed in. It was always very important to me to tell the story of the producers behind the ingredients and not sell a sterile, soul-less product.  I spent a year studying herbal medicine which encouraged me to work with herbs and oils. I loved learning about them (I still do!) so it was a natural progression to start making products that harness their qualities. 

You have quite a wide range of skincare available, how many products did you start off with? 
I started from scratch with just six products, I remember them all fondly! We still have 4 of them in the range today, the recipes are pretty much unchanged! [Calendula & Chamomile Balm, Aromatic Comfrey Balm, Myrrh & Frankincense Balm & Organic Honey & Chamomile Lip Balm :)"]

Which product is your personal favourite - why? 
This is a very tough question! It does change from time to time! I have a lot of favourites like coconut oil and shea butter because they all have something special to offer but I think that I’m in love with anything that has Rose Otto Oil in it! You will always find a bottle of Rose oil in my handbag. I like to use it as a face and hand oil when I’m out and about, plus it smells heavenly. I love the therapeutic properties of Rose, its aroma… everything about it! 

What is your process for creating new products - are there any that haven't made the cut?
This is one of my favourite things to do! It all starts as an idea that finds its way on to paper, with a draft list of ingredients. Then we brainstorm and narrow down the list - depending on what we’re trying to achieve with the product. Then we make up some mixes and try them out!  Products usually don’t make the cut if we can’t get the ingredients we want. For example, I’ve never found an aloe vera that I’m happy to use because of all the additives that go into it. 

Speaking of new products, are there any in the pipeline?
Yes! There are always lots of product ideas, it’s turning them into reality which is a very long and arduous process. Having the idea is the quick part, actually getting it on the shelf takes way too long for someone impatient like me! If I could magic them all into reality, I would!  New products in the pipeline include a long awaited body scrub and two botanical perfumes, which I’m really excited about. 

I noticed that your Shea butter is fairly traded and supports women's co-operatives in Ghana, which is fantastic and one of the reasons I was drawn to buying from you. How do you go about sourcing new ingredients for products? 
We’re passionate about ethical trading. We’re fussy with our ingredients - quality and consistency are very important to us. Sourcing new ingredients usually starts off with a lot of research. This includes finding out about grower projects and trials in skincare. We love to support smaller growers and ethical projects, so this will be part of the decision making process. It’s important to us to find out about the producers and the background to production of our ingredients. Many ingredients are heavily processed before they even enter a skincare product, so this is something we like to look into as well. 

Akamuti products are all about skincare - it's quite often hard to find new cosmetic lines so it’s always great to hear personal recommendations - which brands make their way into your make-up bag? 
You will find a few other brands on my dressing table! For make-up I always use Lavera products, the quality is second to none. I also use Badger and Weleda. I have huge admiration for the natural pioneers Weleda and Aubrey Organics. 

Are there any age-specific products in your range? 
Our replenishing rose face cream is our best anti-aging product, it is packed with amazing oils like raspberry and pomegranate. We also sell pomegranate oil by itself. It is quite strong and potent and is fantastic for mature skin. 

The first products that I bought from Akamuti were the Unscented Body Moisturiser and the Jojoba Oil. What would you recommend as a first purchase to anyone that hasn't tried Akamuti before? 
I would recommend a trial tub of coconut oil and a bottle of Liquid African Black Soap as a great starting point in natural skincare. Coconut oil can be used from top to toe and is a wonderful natural skin food. Our Liquid African Black Soap is beautifully natural and makes a great face and body soap with none of the drying chemicals! They really are everyday essentials. 

What has been the hardest moment so far in Akamuti? 
I’d probably just say that running your own business is sometimes like having a child! In the beginning it takes up every single waking moment! So while there are lots of chaotic, trying times, there are just as many rewarding moments, as you watch it mature & grow up. 

Finally, what has been your best/proudest moment so far in establishing Akamuti?
There have been lots of good moments, including reaching the ripe old age of ten! I also love seeing our products all dressed up in their newly designed labels, they really look like they’ve grown up and they make me smile! It is always nice to hear from the people using our products too – sometimes we hear about a product that has made a profound difference to someone’s quality of life, that always stops me in my tracks and makes me realise that all the hard work is worth it! They are the best moments.

[Photo credits: Akamuti/Lindsey]

I hope you enjoyed reading this.  I don't know about you but I'm excited to see the launch of the body scrub!!   Have you tried Akamuti?  

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Thanks for commenting! For quicker replies find me on Twitter @gfmgfy.

  1. I really enjoyed this interview, Akamuti is a brand that I use and really enjoy :) Xx

    1. Thanks hun, glad you liked it! I find it interesting to see what prompted people to start their own lines. :) x

  2. Great interview :) Love the connection with Africa and the meaning behind the name. They seem like a great company - I'll definitely be looking them up :) x


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